My Whare: Tiny Homeless Teen Homes Win
My Whare by SGA – Strachan Group Architects are tiny little houses designed to accommodate young people coming out of homelessness or care.
Small houses have a niche market and are often the ideal housing solution – sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary.
The My Whare Youth Housing Project, by Visionwest Community Trust and Strachan Group Architects (SGA) caught our attention, having won a prestigious NZIA Auckland Small Project Architecture award last week.
The two companies have joined forces to design and build quality accommodation that provides warmth and shelter to vulnerable young people coming out of care or homelessness.
My Whare is more than four walls and a roof, they say. This is a program designed to connect a young person to a stable family environment by placing a My Whare party in the host family’s backyard and integrating the young person into a supportive community with the help of a specialized facilitator.
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With warm wood floors and sturdy steel framed walls and roofs, units can be easily transported to homestay residential properties.
The interior of the units is lined with a durable ply. The units provide loft sleeping areas and comfortable window seats for lounging. Space is maximized at every turn. There is storage under the stairs – drawers or lockers – as well as shelves, a compact kitchenette, an office area and a separate bathroom with a shower, toilet and sink.
The award judges said that if the country is grappling with the housing crisis, such interventions show the powerful role that good architecture can play.
Responding to the NZIA’s victory, Brook Turner, Head of Service Development and Partnerships at Visionwest, said, “This vote of confidence from the architectural community adds more momentum to a project with the innovative flair of changing the approach to solving homelessness.
“The collaboration with [architect] Pat de Pont and SGA show what can happen when the community works together to solve one of Aotearoa’s most difficult problems, ”said James Widgery, general manager of community housing at Visionwest.
Companies say, with 1% of New Zealanders homeless or homeless, and some reports suggesting as many as half of them are under 25, the hope is that the My Whare initiative can be shared with other community groups allowing more Kiwis to join the mission. to permanently solve youth homelessness.
These beautiful homes won awards at this year’s NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards.